Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
The Significance of the Album "Perspective"
Perspective is the mostly instrumental album released by American rock guitarist Jason Becker and this is not just the review of any mostly instrumental album but it is the review of an album created by a man so gifted and talented with the help of several other musicians to create one of the most musically diverse albums that you will ever hear. It was released originally on May 21, 1996 and this is an album that I’ve had for the longest time that I can remember. If every album has a story behind it, Perspective is the culmination of a few years’ worth of work by Becker dating back to at least 1991.
Why Are We Reviewing An Album Like This?
This review is being done not only to share with the world the musical genius of Jason Becker but it is to show that although we sometimes complain about and are bitter about our lives, Jason’s situation should be a wake up call that our lives are far better.
How Does The Album "Perspective" Begin?
Perspective begins with the song Primal which has some weird noises in the beginning followed by some chanting style singing. The singing is very New Age but if you can sit through this song, the rest of the album is more than satisfactory! Primal according to Jason himself was one of the most fun songs to play. It is always a very good thing when an album starts with a song that the creator of it says that it is very fun to play.
In-Depth Analysis of the Songs In "Perspective"
Jason Becker’s name should be put alongside those of Marty Friedman, Vinnie Moore, and Tony Macalpine as three of the finest US born rock and neoclassical style guitar players. I’m not counting Joe Satriani or Steve Vai who are also famous but I grew up with Jason Becker’s music and this guy has determination that few other musicians would have had if they were in his situation. “Rain” was composed on a rainy day by Becker and this one musically has lead guitar similar to songs such as Jewel. Rain was recorded when Becker first felt the symptoms of his illness.
Then comes the first real masterpiece song of the album called End of the Beginning which is almost 12 minutes long but the beginning piano part sets the tone for what will be a memorable song for guitar players worldwide. The lead guitar parts in this song are done by Michael Lee Firkins and it will leave you with a “wow” kind of moment as the guitar work is impressive! End of the Beginning is one of those songs that has that classical music kind of feel to it and it is still a musical gem even in 2022! Perspective is known as the first album in history to be released by anyone with the disease called ALS. “Life and Death” is another classically influenced song and the power of this song alone has the potential to bring tears to your eyes. Becker says that this was the last song that he wrote on the album and the title represents what was on his mind at the time. The music box kind of feel that dominates this song for the last four minutes or so finishes off the second masterpiece of Perspective. “Empire” is a song that starts with some peaceful and relaxing sitar. “Serrana” is the third such masterpiece song in Perspective and it was written for Becker’s girlfriend at the time that has the same name. He says that most of the trumpet parts from the song come from a solo that he used to play when he was in the band Cacophony.
Final Thoughts About "Perspective" Jason Becker's Most Musically Diverse Album
Perspective is an album that shows the versatility of Jason Becker and he was not only just a neoclassical rock guitarist that was playing lightning fast solos around 1988 and 1989. This album was written, arranged, and orchestrated by Becker himself. Perspective may not represent the peak of Becker’s career but it may be his most creative and versatile moment musically.
Without the use of computers and assistance from other musicians, it is unlikely that Becker could have had an album like Perspective be a reality. The album ends with a cover performance of Bob Dylan’s song “Meet Me in the Morning.” Even if you don’t like this cover song, Perspective shows the dedication of Jason Becker even though by 1996 his ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease symptoms had pretty much destroyed his ability to hold and play an electric guitar! He was able to compose a soft but good rock song with Rain, a good blues song like Blue and then he was able to write the three masterpiece songs that I mentioned already. There is no telling how much longer Jason Becker has left to live but it is my hope that more people will hear about the true brilliance of an album such as Perspective.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Ara Vahanian